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Juico targets Olympic medal in 2020 Games

Newly-elected Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) President Philip Juico is apparently not the kind of sports leader who will settle for crumbs.

In his first announcement as Patafa chief, Juico said he plans to undertake a program which he hopes will produce an athletics medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking at the PSA Forum yesterday, Juico said six years is a realistic target to capture a medal in the Olympics.

“Hopefully we can win a medal in 2020,” said Juico, who replaced Go Teng Kok as track and field president. Go stepped down after 24 years on the job and during his tenure, no runner, jumper or thrower came near to smelling a medal in the Olympics.

The last time the Philippines won an athletics medal in the Olympics was in the 1936 Games in Berlin when 400-meter hurdler Miguel White took the bronze. Four years earlier in Los Angeles, high-jumper Simeon Toribio bagged a bronze.

Juico said he will be taking a different approach in running the affairs of the Patafa. First on his agenda, he said, is to reach out to all members of the sports community.

“It will not do us any good if we continue to have a running battle with everybody,” said Juico. “Our opponents are the SEAG member nations and we are also competing with the rest of the world but as it turns out we are fighting among ourselves.”

Although the 66-year-old Juico did not elaborate, it was clear that he was referring to the previous Patafa leadership, which tangled with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on many issues.

The POC later dealt the old Patafa administration a blow when it declared Go persona non grata in 2011.

Juico’s election is still be to be recognized by the POC which did not send an observer during the Patafa election last Friday.

But the POC had assured Juico of support in the event he wins the Pafata presidency with POC President Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco Jr. personally telling the former Cabinet secretary and ex-Philippine Sports Commission chairman that gaining recognition won’t be a problem.

Meanwhile, Juico said he will appeal to the Incheon Asian Games Task Force headed by PSC chairman Richie Garcia to allow long jumper Marestella Torres to join the Philippine delegation to the Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 sports fest.